Archive for the ‘East Gippsland RCS’ Category

Inaugural Premuster at Bairnsdale

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Pictured are participants at the Premuster conference in Bairnsdale.

International visitors were guests of the Monash School of Rural Health East Gippsland last month for a Premuster conference.

The Premuster was held over two days prior to the fourth 2014 Muster at Uluru in the Northern Territory. (more…)

Death of prominent Gippsland Elder

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The death of Uncle Albert Mullett is being felt throughout Gippsland including at the School of Rural Health Bairnsdale where he played a significant role.

A Gunai Elder whose many years of service to the community earned him widespread admiration, Uncle Albert took a great interest in the welfare, education and health of his people. His devotion to his culture, his people and his country was expressed through significant contributions in areas such as land rights and cultural heritage.

Born in Melbourne in 1933, Uncle Albert, 81, was raised by his mother, Rita Maude Mullett, and her extended family, including his maternal grandparents, David Mullett, a Gunditjmara man, and Maude Stevens, a Gunai woman from the Tatungalung clan. Uncle Albert had six brothers, two of whom were taken by the authorities in 1934. Sadly, both passed away before Albert had the chance to meet them.

Uncle Albert’s family was removed from Lake Tyers Mission when Albert was an infant. His earliest years were spent on an island across the lake and included clandestine visits by night to relatives that remained on the mission.

After living in Melbourne, Drouin, South Gippsland and parts of New South Wales, Uncle Albert and childhood sweetheart Rachel Mongta married and eventually settled in Bairnsdale with their eight children.

In 1980, Uncle Albert’s life abruptly changed direction. Struck by the absence of Aboriginal history in his children’s curriculum, he volunteered to teach students at Bairnsdale Primary School about Aboriginal culture. Such was the success of his lessons, held in a renovated bike shed, that the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated made Albert a spokesperson for Aboriginal education.

Straight-talking Uncle Albert became a fixture on committees promoting Aboriginal interests at all levels of education, from primary to tertiary and TAFE. He was also employed as a community councillor at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education. Among his achievements, Uncle Albert helped establish the first Aboriginal Studies course in Victoria, at Monash University’s Gippsland campus and successfully lobbied for additional university places for Aboriginal students. His work in schools over the years, such as organising camps and dance groups, helped strengthen identity and cultural awareness among young Aboriginal people, and promoted reconciliation within the whole community.

For many years, Uncle Albert was committed to the preservation and celebration of Aboriginal culture. He was among a dedicated group who pushed for legislative changes that allowed local Aboriginal communities to have more involvement in the management of culturally significant sites around Victoria. As a result, hundreds of Aboriginal people have been trained and employed in cultural heritage roles.

Closer to home, Uncle Albert helped establish a ‘keeping place’ in Bairnsdale. He brought a wealth of experience to a number of significant cultural and heritage bodies, including the Australia Council’s Aboriginal Arts Board, the Australian Archaeological Association, and a federal taskforce on Australian cultural collections overseas.

As an elected councillor to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Uncle Albert served as chair of the Yangenook Regional Council for three years. A heart attack in 1992 only temporarily slowed him down. In the late 1990s he was a key negotiator between Aboriginal land councils, Traditional Owner groups, and the international company that constructed the Eastern Gas Pipeline.

He subsequently served as an advisor to several government, private sector and community-run organisations on matters of land use.
For more than 15 years, Uncle Albert led his people’s fight for native title recognition. On 22 October 2010, the Federal Court of Australia recognised the claim of the Gunaikurnai people over much of Gippsland. On the same day, the Victorian Government entered into an agreement with the Gunaikurnai people under the Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010. It was a momentous occasion for Uncle Albert, who went on to play a prominent role on the Gunaikurnai Elders’ Council.

In recent years, Uncle Albert renewed his previous focus on education for Aboriginal people with the establishment of the East Gippsland School for Aboriginal Health Professionals (EGSAHP). He and a small number of elders in East Gippsland led this initiative, which has been supported by Monash School of Rural Health Bairnsdale.

This has progressed to an incorporated body with deductible-gift recipient status, and EGSAHP has this year conducted a research project investigating barriers and support requirements for Aboriginal students to move to tertiary education in health disciplines.

In one of his last public appearances, Uncle Albert attended all three days of the EGSAHP conference “Building the Aboriginal Health Workforce in East Gippsland” held at Wattle Point from 22-24 May.   This was a highly-successful event, not least because of Uncle Albert’s presence and contribution.

Respected as a master-craftsman of traditional wooden artefacts, including shields and boomerangs, Uncle Albert taught these skills to new generations. He was a storyteller who educated and advised people of all ages about Aboriginal culture, including his 17 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Uncle Albert passed away in July. Tributes flowed including one from Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Tim Bull, who hails from Bairnsdale and spent much time with Uncle Albert.

Although he is sadly missed, Uncle Albert will always be remembered as a leader who possessed wisdom, integrity and fortitude, and was a positive role model to many people.

  • Some information from the Department of Premier and Cabinet was used to help compile this article.

Graduate nursing placements for 2014

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Eleven of the cohort of 14 nursing students who completed their studies at the Bairnsdale site

Eleven of the cohort of 14 nursing students who completed their studies at the Bairnsdale site

Monash University nursing students at the Bairnsdale site have had a successful year with all 14 third year students receiving a graduate nurse placement. These placements range across several health services including Monash Health, Northern Health, Latrobe Regional Health Service, Central Gippsland Health Service, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, Omeo District Health and a private GP clinic.

Well done all.


Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

The weather over the last few weeks has been rather unlike what would be expected in spring. Spring should be bbq weather, so with that in mind a farewell for the Year 4C Bairnsdale medical students was planned and, as has been the case lately, the usually beautiful Gippsland weather turned on us.

Despite this, and with a couple of minor modifications, the students were farewelled in style by staff and others who had played an important part in the program throughout the year. Rain and cool temperatures didn’t dampen the enjoyment we all had and it is with a mixture of sadness and optimism that the 2013 student cohort was farewelled and sent on their way with our best wishes and hopes that we see them again in Gippsland, perhaps as practising doctors.

David Campbell, Director, and Marnie Connolly, the Academic Coordinator of the Year 4C program at Bairnsdale, congratulated the students for their hard work and commitment throughout the year and thanked all staff for their valuable contributions to the ongoing success of the integrated program in East Gippsland.

Each student was invited to give a vignette of one occasion they remember about their year. The guests were engaged with stories of humour, compassion, humility and generosity.

We look forward to following the students in their progress. They will be missed by everyone.

Anaesthetic Simulation in Sale

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Anaesthetic workshop in Sale

We had the opportunity of running a GP Anaesthetic Registrar Workshop which was well attended by all the GPA registrars in Gippsland.

The workshop was kindly supported by Southern GP Training (SGPT).

The day was a mixture of lectures from anaesthetic specialists and experienced GP anaesthetists, an ultrasound workshop and scenarios made realistic with monitors that alarmed and desaturated.
It was a splendid opportunity to utilise the excellent simulation facilities at Sale.

Dr Antony Wong, GP Anaesthetist

Farewell to Sale students

Monday, November 4th, 2013

A combined student farewell for Year 3B and Year 4C was held in Sale with approximately 50 people in attendance. Tutors, practice managers, specialists, interns and registrars all came along to farewell a terrific group of students.

Drs Iain Nicolson and Howard Connor addressed the group to wish the students well and to thank all those who have contributed to the program throughout the year. The Year 3B students received a special mention for their effort in the John Desmond Occupational Medicine exam which is held each year and to Dr Lloyd Waters, their tutor.

The East Gippsland Regional Clinical School wish the students all the best in their forthcoming exams and we are looking forward to welcoming a number of them back for another year in 2014.

Congratulations to superior Sale students!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
John May achieved a high distinction in the John Desmond Occupational Medicine exam

John May achieved a high distinction in the John Desmond Occupational Medicine exam

Each year there is an opportunity for Year 3B students to sit the John Desmond Occupational Medicine exam. The John Desmond Prize is donated by Drs Robyn Horsley and Peter Desmond in honour of their son who died in infancy. Dr Horsley practices occupational medicine as a speciality and finds it to be a diverse area of medicine.

The objectives of the John Desmond Prize in Occupational Medicine are to:

  • encourage some students to contemplate occupational medicine as a career;
  • encourage most students to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to effectively practise occupational medicine as part of any general or specialist medical practice

The results this year were very pleasing with special mention made of Sale students as achieving overall ‘superior performance” in the exam. Special mention should be made of John May from Sale who achieved a high distinction.

Our congratulations go to the students and our thanks to Dr Lloyd Waters from the Clocktower Medical Centre in Sale for tutoring the students and for coordinating their on-site visit to the Esso Gas plant at Longford.

Women’s Health Conference at Foster

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Drs Elizabeth Farrell and Dr Deirdre Bentley, guest speakers at the Women’s Health Conference held in Foster recently

Drs Elizabeth Farrell and Deirdre Bentley, guest speakers at the Women’s Health Conference held in Foster recently

Early in October a full day Women’s Health Conference was held at the South Gippsland Community Health Centre in Foster.  Year 4C students were fortunate enough to hear from a number of speakers including  Drs Elizabeth Farrell and Deirdre Bentley who presented case studies on breast cancer support, endometriosis and menopause. The day was particularly beneficial to the students  given their exams are fast approaching and it is hoped that such conferences become a regular event of the academic year for them.

Dinner Series Inspires

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Dr Elizabeth Farrell, gynaecologist, pictured with a gynaecologist she is mentoring whilst in Australia for continued training.

Dr Elizabeth Farrell, gynaecologist, pictured with a gynaecologist she is mentoring whilst in Australia for continued training.

A series of three inspirational dinners have been held at the South Gippsland campus of the East Gippsland Regional Clinical School. The dinners, the brainchild of Dr David Iser, are held for the Year 4C students to show them the myriad opportunities that doing medicine opens up to them.

The first dinner was held in August this year with Dr Andrew Steer speaking about infectious diseases and rashes. Dr Steer is an Infectious diseases physician with the Department of General Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital and a senior research fellow at the Centre for International Child Health, Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.

Following Dr Steers talk, retired Paediatric specialist, Dr Robert Birell, spoke of his journey as a doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital and his work to introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse, for which he is recognised.

The second dinner was held in October with Dr Elizabeth Farrell as the guest speaker.  Dr Farrell talked to students about her involvement over the past 20 years in the management, education and research of the menopausal woman. Dr Farrell has her own private gynaecology practice and is head of the Menopausal Unit at Monash Medical Centre, a senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology with Monash University and a Director and consultant gynaecologist at the Jean Hailes Foundation.

Dr Farrell established the first Early Menopausal Clinic in 2002, the first Adult Turner’s Syndrome Long Term clinic  and in 2009 established the first Women and Cancer Clinic in Victoria at Monash Medical Centre.

The third dinner is scheduled for November and by all accounts the dinners have been extremely successful events, rewarding and informative experiences for the students fortunate enough to be involved.

Learning rural health the NZ way

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Cassie Coetzee reports on her exchange to Greymouth, New Zealand as part of an annual students exchange. Cassie is at the Sale campus of East Gippsland Regional Clinical School for her Year 4C academic year.

Greymouth is a town on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, with a population of approximately 13, 300. Grey Hospital is a 100 bed hospital that provides services such as general medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, paediatrics, geriatrics and anaesthetics.  During the two weeks at Grey I was able to attend clinics such as orthopaedics, cardiology, general medicine, endocrinology and paediatrics. I spent time on the medical ward and was able to assist the house surgeons in many tasks and gain great experience seeing both common and rare conditions.

Although Grey hospital is of comparable size to Central Gippsland Health Service, it services a much larger geographic area with a diverse patient demographic. The exchange program enabled me to appreciate the unique challenges that can affect health care, both from the perspective of comparing the differences in procedures and policies from an international viewpoint, as well as from a rural/metropolitan stance.

Grey hospital, New Zealand

Grey hospital, New Zealand

Although the hospital has a few resident consultants, the majority of specialist health care is provided by liaison consultants who travel from Christchurch on a regular basis. Greymouth is a rural town that can be quite isolated when access roads to Christchurch are closed due to snow (as they frequently can be during winter). This imposes some unique challenges regarding transporting critically ill patients to a tertiary care hospital. It was not uncommon for patients to be flown in one of the helicopters or in the fixed wing aircraft, even for semi-urgent investigations such as an MRI.

Helipad at Grey Hospital

Helipad at Grey Hospital

While on exchange I was fortunate enough to experience some of New Zealand’s breath taking sights. From the Canterbury snow fields to the spectacular train ride across the coast-traversing plains, high-country, alpine ranges and rain forests to the glaciers and beaches of the west coast.

Mt Hutt skifield

Mt Hutt skifield

The experience provided a fantastic and unforgettable learning experience that has greatly added to my professional development and interest in both global and rural health.